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Poverty Alleviation Projects

January 31, 2009

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your January 2009 report for The $10 Club.

Mali is one of the poorest countries on the planet, ranking 173rd out of 177 countries listed on the United Nations Human Development Report. As you may recall, we undertook a vital water and sanitation project there in June of last year. Now, my Malian colleague and friend, Bourama Niagate, has come to me with an important project implemented through his organization, AMEPANE.

Bourama is the President of the Association Malienne pour l’Etude la Protection, l’Aménagement de la Nature et de l’Environnement (AMEPANE) and the Director of the National Park and Reserve of the Biosphere of the Boucle du Baoulé, the largest protected area in Mali. AMEPANE undertakes activities focused on the protection of the environment and on poverty alleviation in the Bafing area, the poorest area in Mali.

Bourama has asked if The $10 Club could help alleviate poverty in this region by providing modest but essential school supplies to improve education and mosquito nets to prevent malaria. This month, in partnership with our friends at the High Five Club in England, 410 of us joined together to donate $4,100 to AMEPANE to buy 1,500 notebooks, 500 small blackboards with 5,000 pieces of chalk, more than 3,000 pens and pencils and more than a thousand erasers, and nearly 700 treated mosquito nets. Thank you!

The protected Bafing Fauna Reserve is located about 20 km away from the border with Guinea and includes thousands of people living in 28 villages. The rural nature of the region precludes any industrial activities and severely limits income generation.

The area lacks health infrastructures and health care staff. In Saraya, for instance, for a population of 24,000 inhabitants, there are only 3 health posts (Saraya, Nafadji and Missirah) and four health huts (Brabiry, Kondokhou, Baďtilaye and Moussala). Medical consults and vaccinations are usually performed by teams moving from one community to the next, but provision of health services is complicated by the isolation of the villages and lack of transportation.

Most common diseases include: malaria, pulmonary infections, bronchitis, coughs, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dysentery, conjunctivitis, hernia, and meningitis, which is acute for children in the area. Sexually transmitted diseases and HIV are also part of the infections affecting the area.

Many children die between the ages of 1 month old and 1 year old because they are exposed to diseases linked to their environment such as malaria, diarrhea, whooping cough, rheumatism, dysentery, diphtheria, meningitis.

A significant lack of pediatric nurses, maternity wards in hospital, and ambulances in the area leads to a high number of deaths related to pregnancies. The closest appropriate facility is in Manantali, which is between 50 and 150 km away from some villages.

The President’s Malaria Initiative reports that 100% of the Malian population is at risk of malaria with malaria being “one of the principle causes of death and suffering in Mali. It is responsible for more than 30 percent of all outpatient visits and 30 percent of hospital deaths.” Hundreds of thousands of cases of malaria are reported each year and roughly one in five children under five years old contract the disease.

For education and training, there is a serious lack of supplies, despite the fact that people understand the need for schooling. The region suffers from an insufficient number of classrooms; large number of students; few teachers; severe lack of school supplies; poor water wells and latrines in the schools; and difficulty in keeping girls in school because they have to work in the fields to help their families.

According to UNICEF, problems abound in Mali:
  • Very few young children have access to preschool programmes.
  • Girls still lag far behind boys in school enrolment.
  • High teacher-student ratios and overcrowded classrooms impact the quality of education. Primary school repetition and dropout rates are particularly high among girls and in rural communities.
  • High illiteracy rates – higher among women than among men – perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
Most children in the Bafing area receive no formal education. Children who are in school walk between 7 and 12 km to reach the closest school. Teachers for the most part have very few school supplies at their disposal. Children go through the entire school day without eating, and those who can bring food often have contaminated meals that leave them ill.

It is quite simple, really: no child should miss school; no child should succumb to preventable diseases; no child should be forgotten.

I have known Bourama for more than a decade and couldn’t be more confident in his ability to help the people of Mali—the children of Mali—to ensure they are educated and safe from malaria. To enable his work is truly a blessing.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,
Adam

PS. Even in the midst of tough economic times, there are many, many people who, like you, can afford to help change the world $10 at a time. Please contact them and urge them to join. We must continue to grow our numbers and be the change we wish to see!


The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org